Burned body found inside charred vehicle

June 2, 2010 9:50:47 AM PDT
Firefighters putting out a car fire in west Houston found a body inside. It happened overnight at the Mansions of Shadowbriar apartments on Overbrook. Residents at the apartment complex are understandably concerned. This fire got their attention around 2am. It turned out to be a woman inside that burning car. Now police are trying to determine not only who she is, but how this happened.

Resident Andre Jackson recalled, "I heard something like a flash, go 'poof.'"

That was all it took for Jackson to take notice.

"I came out the back and I saw some people scurrying around, and I really didn't pay any attention then, until I went back to the kitchen and saw, like, flames," he said. "I looked outside the door and this car was on fire."

Houston police arson investigators worked until well after sunrise, summoned to this scene by firefighters. Firefighters had been called to the scene initially on calls of a car on fire. Once the fire was out, they discovered what investigators believed to be a woman burned in the back seat.

"It's shocking," said resident Robert Verdine. "It's beyond comprehension. I wouldn't have ever thought or imagined something like this happening."

Early on, investigators have found no eyewitnesses.

Jonathan French with HPD Homicide explained, "We talked to people here at the apartment. A few of the people who live in the surrounding buildings didn't recognize the vehicle. We don't have any idea who this person is."

"When I'm outside, I notice all the cars around here, so when I seen it, I was like, 'I never seen that car around here before,' you know," said resident Chris Mitchell. "So it was kind of shocking to us, too."

Police checked on the car's Iowa license plate. It was not registered to any address at this apartment complex. They're just at the beginning of their effort to identify the victim.

Police have been tight-lipped about any other details in this case, saying only so far that it's possible the victim's feet were bound. They're waiting on the autopsy results, planned for Wednesday afternoon.

The car has been sent to an evidence lot for processing.


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